This is the sixth post in a series discussing a pastor’s personal involvement with international missions. While it is geared specifically to senior pastors, I believe that the principles apply to all leaders in the church. If you would like to start from the beginning and get a feel for the main thesis of the series, click here.
“Because you need to create vacuums for new leaders to take responsibility”
So, if you’re reading this, you might also be following a series of posts I’ve been writing about the need to have lay leaders in your church preach on a regular basis. You can find the initial post here and a companion posts to this one’s specific topic here and here.
Pastoring a local church means that you have a lot of different relationship plates spinning all at once. For every person under your shepherding care, there are at least as many ideas about what would be the best next step for them to take. You want all of your new believers to grow. You want your young believers to take steps into leadership and you want your lay leaders to take steps into deeper responsibility. Good pastors are constantly thinking about these things.
And like a lot of good pastors, you might be thinking that you could never participate in the missions efforts of your church because there’s just too much work to do. You just can’t get away. The thought of being gone for any length of time (even for good ministry purposes) immediately floods your mind with the perpetually revolving questions of “Who’s going to preach on Sunday?”, “Who will lead the team meeting?”, “Who will do the hospital visits?”
If only there was some way for you to have built in opportunities for people to step in to the next level of maturity… If only you had some intentional mechanism for people to step in to the next level of leadership in your church…
To see the missions endeavors of your church as something that takes you away from being a good leader is to actually be a bad leader. Rather, creating opportunities for young/inexperienced leaders to grow in responsibility is really just a part of discipleship. And If those opportunities involve you pouring into the discipleship of others on an international level, that’s what we in the business call a win/win.
Will there be hiccups? Of course there will. But you’re not aiming at a seamless replacement of everything the professional Christian does during the week. You’re aiming at teaching through experience. You may even have a promising young leader that you can throw into the deep end of the pool and just let them be the one to figure it all out.
Good pastors would never walk out the door with things not taken care of. But good pastors are also, always looking for ways to grow the sheep under their care. Trust God is big enough to use someone besides you. Go pour in to other parts of the Kingdom once in a while. Your church will be better for it.